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R e v. L e o n K e l l y

Leads Denver Area Boys And Girls Clubs Ta l k A b o u t R a c i s m

gathering was to talk about racism – what it is, how it can affect us, and what we can do to stop it. Joining the discussion was Adier Deng, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. The audience learned about human rights – those things that can’t be taken away from us simply because we’re human. They watched four short videos on specific human rights. After the first, “We are all Born Free

Rev. Leon Kelly talks to the students about racism

Lost Boy Shares Story of Extreme Racism

Long-time Denver anti-gang activist, Reverend Leon Kelly (Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives) joined Judy Schneider, President of the Ballpark Neighborhood Association

and United for Human at the Church of Scientology to welcome Denver area middle school and high-school youth from the Boys and Girls club of Metro Denver. The purpose of the


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and Equal,” they erupted in cheers. They learned about extreme forms of racism as Deng related to how he survived mass genocide when he was only five years old. The story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is harrowing. Twenty-seven thousand boys aged four to 13 were separated from their families in 1990 and forced to flee South Sudan from the invasion of the Northern Sudanese government forces. They were hounded not just by the enemy helicopters laden with chemical bombs with the intent to kill every single male child, but they had to survive attacks by lions, hyenas, chimpanzees, and even crocodiles as they made their way from South Sudan to Ethiopia, and then from Ethiopia to Kenya because the Ethiopian soldiers wouldn’t allow them to stay in their country (a journey roughly equivalent of traversing the United States from Los Angeles to New York.) As the middle school and high school students discovered that of the 27,000 boys who started the journey only 10,000 survived, they wanted to know what it was like to cross deserts and jungles and to live in a refugee camp for eight years. They asked Deng questions like “what was it like to lose your family,” and “what did it feel like when you finally got here to the United States.” The most important question they asked him was “how did you keep going.” Deng simply answered, “Hope. No matter how bad it was on any given day, I would always know that the next day would be better.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2013


It was a strong lesson for the students to hear, and one that Reverend Kelly continued to bring home to the audience. Rev. Kelly openly talked about gang violence and about how Deng’s story helped everyone to see how fortunate everyone is. He had the audience hold slim wooden signs that said, “colored only,” leftovers from Jim Crow laws in the South and he encouraged the children to talk about what they would do if they were in Deng’s shoes. Most importantly, Kelly had them give him answers on what they could do to “erase racism.” Their answers were simple and profound: to listen to each other better. To make the effort to understand those who are different from them. Racism is ugly and still far too prevalent in 2013. It is a most basic and egregious violation of human rights. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, made it clear that spiritual freedom and enlightenment were all but unattainable goals to individuals denied their most fundamental human rights. By bringing together young men and women from across Denver’s neighborhoods, Deng, Schneider, Rev. Kelly, and United for Human Rights, have worked to bring hope for a future where human rights are real, where racism has given way to people embracing each other’s differences.  Editor’s note: United for Human Rights is a not-for-profit, secular, education foundation that is supported in part by the Church of Scientology. For more information, visit

DUS May 2013  

Denver Urban Spectrum May 2013 Issue

DUS May 2013  

Denver Urban Spectrum May 2013 Issue